How did that tweet get there? It’s not magic and unicorns.

As an intern or young professional, you may assume that because you know how to use Twitter that you are ready to step into doing so on behalf of an organization. However, strategic social media is a lot more complicated than personal social media and there’s no magic social media unicorn… 

This side of social is not necessarily intuitive and the learning the process is an important part of doing a good job for clients. We’re ramping up some social media work for a client right now and that has me thinking about the process I use and how to convey that to my team.

Continue reading “How did that tweet get there? It’s not magic and unicorns.”

Protected tweets? I won’t hire you.

I get it. I really do.

There’s a desire to have conversations, interactions, silly back-and-forths with a specific and “controlled” community — your friends. It’s nice to feel some sense of control about who sees or does not see your content. You don’t have to filter or self-censor.

In class last week, I made an off-handed remark that I wouldn’t hire someone who had a protected twitter account. When I said it, I heard an audible gasp in the room. What?! Why would she say that?

So here’s why:

When I hire, I need people who are smart and savvy about social media. For most entry-level professionals, the greatest indicator is how the individual uses their personal account. If your account is protected, I can’t see how you interact with people and what kinds of things you share (obviously). But what it also says is, “I don’t get how to use this tool as a professional. I’m just a student and the world revolves around me.” That’s fine. And your prerogative. But I won’t hire you. 

I know not everyone wants to manage social media and spend their days on Twitter. The entry-level professionals I work with do, so that’s important to me and to my clients.

However, there are plenty of other reasons you might want to reconsider protecting your tweets:

  • You’ll miss connections – plenty of people (including me) won’t follow people back with protected accounts. 
  • People won’t see things you might actually want them to see. Doesn’t do much good to share that portfolio piece or get job search advice if you’re not casting a wider net.
  • Your tweets aren’t searchable (and by the same measure, you can’t participate in tweet chats… just because you use the hashtag for a class, or a chat or a conference doesn’t mean everyone else can see your stuff. Only those people who are already following you can).
  • You can’t connect with new people and build your personal or professional network.
  • It’s not REALLY all that private – Screenshots, retweets and favorites make it really easy for others to share your stuff even if you don’t want them to.

Don’t take my word for it:

What do you think? Do you protect your tweets? If so, why? If not, why not?

Bad Judgment Creates Twitter Crises

In the last month we’ve seen two really high profile mistweets. In fact, they occurred one right after the other in the same week.  In both cases, the tweets were apparently meant to be sent from personal accounts, but instead were sent from the corporate accounts.

In case you missed it, the first was from KitchenAidUSA. It was tweeted the night of the first presidential debate.

 

The second was from StubHub (pardon the language). You can read more about this situation here.

 

Of course KitchenAidUSA and StubHub aren’t the first corporate accounts to have this happen (remember Chrysler?). What really stood out to me about both these tweets was this:

If you’re a company that’s hired someone who would tweet EITHER of these tweets (even on a personal account), you’ve made a bad hiring decision. Both of these twitterers used unbelievably terrible judgment. These are not the kind of tweets that should be sent out ever on a social network. Ever. Much less by someone who “does” social media for a living. The first error in judgment was KitchenAid and StubHub not taking their respective social media seriously and ensuring the people in place to manage corporate channels had the skills, sense of strategy and maturity to do so.

The second error in judgment was, of course, on the part of the individuals managing those accounts.

I’ve mistweeted from client accounts before, it’s pretty easy to do (and pretty easy to avoid). In each case for me, the tweet was not relevant to that client’s audience or the kind of content typically shared on that platform. But they were not offensive. Guess why. Because I do not tweet offensive things.

The mistweet issue is certainly one that, if you’re helping manage a brand account, you have to pay attention to. But I think the bigger issue in the KitchenAidUSA and the StubHub case was that the individuals responsible for those accounts showed a complete lack of judgment and shouldn’t have been in a position of responsibility.

No, I’m not suggesting that you have to tweet like you’re a corporate brand, but everything you tweet is part of your personal brand. And that should be just as important to you as if you were tweeting on behalf of a client or an employer. It’s through your personal brand that you can demonstrate your expertise, your professionalism and your good judgment. And it’s because you bring expertise, professionalism and good judgment that you’ll be a valuable employee. One that doesn’t tweet something that results in your boss having to apologize to the President of the United States of America.

As usual, a Chipism sums it up… In an interview last week, Oregon Ducks Football Coach Chip Kelly said this about Twitter (after the Washington State coach banned his players from using it).

What do you think? How do you think about your own presence on social media and how does that relate to managing a company or client account? I’d love to hear your experience.

Six Pieces of Media Relations Advice for the Newbies

Heart racing, palms sweating… no, you’re not having a heart attack. You’re pitching your first story as an intern or entry-level pro. Whew! it can be nerve wracking, for sure. Through a good process, you can feel prepared and confident in your delivery.

  1. Know “why.” What’s the point of the media relations effort? What’s the big picture? How does this release, this pitch fit into what the client/company wants to accomplish? It’s ok to ask. You’re not just “smiling and dialing,” asking why can help you craft a better pitch, but also helps you understand the business of public relations and the media relations function.
  2. Know the story. Understand not only the primary story, but all the potential angles. You may not be able to pitch the primary story to every editor (in fact, you probably can’t).
  3. Create, refine and refine again your media list. An awesomely targeted and strategically refined media list is your golden ticket. This part is pretty freaking tedious, but it’s so important. Don’t let the tedium deter you. Tools like Cision and Vocus can help a lot if your organization has a subscription. If they don’t, there are a bunch of free or almost free tools… including your eyes and brain. If you understand the “why,” (see #1), you can be reading, watching and listening to the right sources and you’ll get to know who will be interested in your pitch. This takes time, so the computer-aided-search-tools are a nice boost, but don’t lean on them too hard. Know your organization’s industry.
  4. Write the pitch. If you’re emailing it, make sure the grammar is pristine, the message clear and that it’s SHORT. If you’re calling, make sure the grammar is pristine, the message clear and that it’s SHORT.
  5. Practice the pitch. Have colleagues read and listen to your pitch and give you feedback.
  6. Make the call! (or send the email). But really, you’re going to have to make the call at some point, even if your first pitch is via email.

I asked my friends via Twitter what advice they would give to newbies and, boy! did they have advice. Check it out. And follow these super smarties – some are vets and some are newbies themselves.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Bookgirl96/statuses/106815124261703680″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/JenJAshley/statuses/106816028138422272″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/mculpPR/statuses/106815993988386816″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/mculpPR/statuses/106815639099949056″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/JulieMa/statuses/106812944096047105″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/jpitts/statuses/106817252728389632″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/RACHELkoppes/statuses/106816629446410241″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/jenna_levy/statuses/106819096561192960″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/behindthespin/statuses/106831502993657856″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/KellysDavies/statuses/106832108646965249″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/ztzinthecity/statuses/106820662022250496″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/jamescrawford/statuses/106832389141037056″]

See James’ blog, too.

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/kevinkennedy320/statuses/106833121214865408″]

For even more tips & advice, check out my Delicious tag on media relations. And I’d love to hear what you think? What would you add?

To Twitter on Its 5th Birthday

Twitter celebrated its 5th birthday last week. Unlike the five year old in my house, I’m fairly confident Twitter’s party didn’t have an Optimus Prime pinata and a Autobot cake… Twitter’s loss.

Milestones always seem to me like a good time to reflect and ruminate. Of course, I wasn’t there on day one, but I’ve been on Twitter for a while (just over 4 years), and it’s certainly had a big impact on me. A few things that stand out in my mind:

  • I joined in April 2007, but didn’t really start tweeting regularly  until June 2008. Like all applications, it takes time to find your groove, figure out how it fits into your work flow. Does it make life easier/better/more satisfying? My rule of thumb for new Twitter users is to give it 30 days and try to follow/be followed by about 100 people.
  • I’ve sent almost 20,000 tweets in that time. As of today (July 18), I have 5100 followers and 2,690 friends. I learned long ago that these stats had to be about my experience with Twitter and not arbitrary rules about follower ratios or similar nonsense. No, Twitter is not “all about me,” but if the tool doesn’t bring value, then why participate?
  • I average about 15 tweets a day. That’s probably pretty “noisy,” but many of my tweets are connecting to people, not just blabbing for the sake of blabbing. I’m not going to lie, there is definitely blabbing. The @’s and RTs dominate. In fact “rt” is my top word in my tag cloud, followed by the very optimistic sounding: thanks, great, new and good.
  • Twitter, for me, is my go-to platform. It’s the one I use the most and provides the most return on investment for me. Besides, I learned about four of the last five dead celebs from Twitter – now that’s value!

Check out this stellar infographic chronicling Twitter’s history. And share! What do you love (or hate) about Twitter?

by visually via

Traveling Linky Love

I’m just wrapping up a weekend in Seattle where I was a keynote at the Pacific Northwest President Elect Training Seminar, so I’m a bit late on my weekly best-of. In fact, I can tell that I’ll be running to catch up with myself this week… so here we go!

You can learn more info about these “linky loves” and the background on the students’ assignment here.

Enjoy!

Brand-Tweeting-New: Tips for Twitter Newbies

We’re kicking off another year at the University of Oregon. I’m not teaching social media-focused classes this term, but I always encourage my students to tweet and use a hashtag for the course. This term you’ll likely see #J350 and #J453 tags from students. Because the classes aren’t social media oriented (although certainly infused), I don’t take time to “teach” Twitter. But I’m not under the illusion that it’s intuitive and doesn’t need to be demonstrated. It’s been awhile since a did a post with resources and tips for those new to the microblogging platform, so here you go!

Some of my favorite resources on Twitter basics

  • Twitter 101 for Business: Written by the folks at Twitter, this guide is a terrific how to on using Twitter professionally. For journalism students, you really do have to think about all social media in that way. You’re a professional communicator and all your communication should reflect that.
  • Twitter’s Twitter Basics: A helpful guide from Twitter that covers a wide variety of topics.
  • College Students Guide to Twitter: This has long been one of my favorite resources for Twitter. I’ve shared it many, many times.
  • 10 Ways Twitter is Use for PR Practitioners: An overview on the top 10 reasons PR pros can find Twitter useful.

Who to Follow

  • Twitter Starter Pack for PR Students – a list created by another professor of her recommended people to follow. You can follow everyone at once.
  • 100 PR People to Follow – another list based on a blog post that identified the top 100 people in PR to follow. The two lists will have some overlap.
  • WeFollow.com – A handy directory of Twitter uses categorized by tag.

More Tips

  • Give Twitter at least 30 days & aim to follow and be followed by at least 100 people. Thirty days because Twitter is not intuitive – it takes time to figure it out. And the 100 following/follower level forces you to think outside your physical/offline networks and connect with new people.
  • Participate in chats: There are a few Twitter chats either specifically geared toward students or are particularly useful. Top 10 chats for PR & Marketing professionals. That list doesn’t include two that are specifically targeted at student and young professionals, so check out #PRStudChat and more about #u30PR0.

What are some of your favorite Twitter basics tips or resources?

My Top 5 Shortcuts: #4 Use a Smartphone

This is a quick tip, but an important one. See tip 1 on feedreaders, 2 on creating a process and 3 on using twitter, too!

If you’re in communications – get a smart phone. For real. It doesn’t have to be an iPhone. Just get a smart phone.

A quick scan of Twitter or Facebook, a timely update to your Tumblr or blog, even being able to handle an urgent situation are all possible from the palm of your hand. Knowing I can “hear” if someone is talking to me (or a client) saves me a ton of time.

It’s also not all about social media specifically, but for generally being productive and saving myself time.

Applications I use to help:

  • Twitter for iPhone
  • Tweetdeck for iPhone (yes, I use 2, I monitor a bunch of accounts)
  • Facebook with all the Pages for which I’m an admin bookmarked.
  • Tumblr for posting photos (this is a personal outlet for me)
  • WordPress (although I rarely use it, I have it set up if I need to)
  • LinkedIn (again, not often used, but you never know!)

Other productivity apps I use:

  • Harvest (my time tracker. If it’s on my phone, I can track my time on the fly.)
  • TeuxDeux (my favorite list maker, to do list builder)
  • Huddle (my project management/coordination program)

Do you have any apps you use to help manage social media (or your life)? I’d love to hear about them!

photo by K!T

My Top 5 Shortcuts: #3 Use Twitter

Bloglines, my first feedreader, announced this week that it would shut down October 1. If one can feel nostalgic about something like that, I certainly did.

The spokesperson said that the “writing was on the wall,” that most people were getting their news from Twitter & Facebook. I’m not going to disagree that more people are indeed doing so, but I don’t think the feedreader is dead. At least not for people who work in communications. You can’t possibly get all your news from Twitter and Facebook.

However, you also can’t subscribe to every blog on your topics of interest. Using the two tools in a complementary way will help you stay in the know and also save you time.

Find the right people to follow

It’s important to find the opinion leaders and influencers for you on Twitter. There’s a lot of noise, so be smart about who you pay attention to. That doesn’t mean to be a follow-back snob (you can see my follow back tips here).

I wrote a post a while back on how to find people to follow, too.

Build lists

Before Twitter integrated its list function, folks (like me) were using Tweetdeck’s column feature to filter their Twitter stream. Lists can do that, but, because they are public, they can also help show your participation in a community and build connections across your network.

However, as a time saver, lists can serve a couple of purposes. The first is to organized the updates of people who you follow by category, industry, name, whatever you choose. Most third party applications (see the next tip) will let you sync your lists, too. The second is you can see other people’s lists, which can follow. No need to build that CNN Reporters list if one already exists, right?

Use a third party application like Tweetdeck

Twitter can be a giant time suck, I’m fully aware. Time suck? Sort of the opposite of short cut. However, Twitter is a necessary tool. I use Tweetdeck for my personal Twitter use. I leave it running most of the day and have the notifications set to only alert me when I’ve been mentioned, I have a direct message or one of my search terms has a new result. The visual and audible notification means that I don’t pay attention to Twitter unless there is something going on. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it does help a lot.

How about you? Any twitter-related shortcut tips to share?

Why I Don’t Link My Social Media Profiles

It seems like a good idea. When you update Twitter, why not update Facebook automatically… and while you’re at it, how about LinkedIn?

To me, each of these tools serves a different purpose and therefore needs different content. Certainly there is overlap in many instances, but it’s important to think about how each fits into your overall personal social media use – or how, as an organization, each helps you reach your objectives.

I know that the social media time suck is a big deal and we’re all looking for ways to make the most our time in front the screen – but if you’re going to “do” social media, do it right. And be prepared for how much time it takes.

Twitter: Short updates, more “real-time,” drive traffic to Web or blog, personal appeal. Tweets often don’t make sense out of context and when you add hashtags, RT’s and @’s it can be confusing, particularly for those on Facebook who aren’t familiar with how Twitter works. And yes, there are still plenty of people for whom that’s true.

Facebook Fan Page: More room to wiggle (no character limit), ability to add links with thumbnails for visual appeal. If you update from Facebook, the syncing to Twitter is technically easy, but can look awkward when it goes over the character limit. When Facebook-to-Twitter updates cut off, the result can be just more noise in the Twitter stream. Example:

Picture 7

LinkedIn: Suit & tie network, business-oriented. I see too many status updates that not only have nothing to do with your business-self, but could be less than helpful if a potential employer, investor or business partner happened to visit your profile at just that moment.

That’s not to say that you can’t use the same subject and update each platform appropriately. I do that all the time. I just don’t often update simultaneously. Maybe it’s a control thing. But I want to know that each group of fans/friends/followers is getting the best content for them, at the right “pace” and the most relevant.

When it makes sense for overlap, I prefer to send updates from Twitter. By using “Selective Twitter” on Facebook (where you add #fb to do simultaneous updates) and adding Twitter to your LinkedIn profile (use #in for simultaneous updates), you can be smart about your updates.

My personal rules of thumb are pretty basic. I use my personal Facebook page largely for personal use, so I only sync my Twitter and personal Facebook when I tweet things that are (potentially) interesting for friends & family. But what if you’re helping to manage fan pages and Twitter accounts?

Twitter –> Facebook Fan Page: Updates that translate easily to a Facebook audience. That means knowing what the people connected to the company on each platform want and expect. And, without exception, the expectations are different. For one company in particular, Facebook fans are only interested in updates from the company and I get very little interaction around other information. Twitter friends, on the other hand, like a variety of information and often retweet or reply to non-company-related tweets. When I sync the two, it’s only when the two groups’ interests overlap.

Twitter –> LinkedIn: Updates that are related to my business and add something to my virtual resume. These updates also need to be more “timeless.” That is, I don’t update LinkedIn as often as the other networks, so the updates should add value and not get stale too quickly.

Picture 5

I know full well that people will disagree with me and have a different approach to this conundrum. I’d love to hear what you think!

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